ALMA's view of the Sun's nearest neighbours: The submm/mm SEDs of the alpha Centauri binary and a new source

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

R. Liseau, V. De la Luz, E. O'Gorman, E. Bertone, M. Chavez, F. Tapia
(Submitted on 8 Aug 2016)

The precise mechanisms that provide the non-radiative energy for heating the chromosphere and the corona of the Sun and other stars are at the focus of intense contemporary research. Observations at submm/mm wavelengths are particularly useful to obtain information about the run of the temperature in the upper atmosphere of Sun-like stars. We used ALMA to study the chromospheric emission of the aCen binary system in all six available frequency bands during Cycle2 in 2014/15. Since ALMA is an interferometer, the multi-telescope array is particularly suited for the observation of point sources.

With its large collecting area, the sensitivity is high enough to allow the observation of nearby main-sequence stars at submm/mm wavelengths for the first time. The comparison of the observed spectral energy distributions with theoretical model computations provides the chromospheric structure in terms of temperature and density above the stellar photosphere and the quantitative understanding of the primary emission processes. Both stars were detected and resolved at all ALMA frequencies.

For both aCenA and B, the existence and location of the temperature minima, firstly detected from space with Herschel, are well reproduced by the theoretical models of this paper. For aCenB, the temperature minimum is deeper than for A and occurs at a lower height in the atmosphere, but for both stars, Tmin/Teff is consistently lower than what is derived from optical and UV data. The submm/mm emission of the aCen stars is indeed very well reproduced by modified chromospheric models of the Quiet Sun. This most likely means that the non-radiative heating mechanisms of the upper atmosphere that are at work in the Sun are operating also in other solar-type stars.

Comments: 10 pages, 7 figures, accepted for Astron. & Astrophys., Section 8
Subjects: Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)
Cite as: arXiv:1608.02384 [astro-ph.SR] (or arXiv:1608.02384v1 [astro-ph.SR] for this version)
Submission history
From: René Liseau
[v1] Mon, 8 Aug 2016 11:19:10 GMT (462kb,D)

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